LITTLE RIVER --
An athletic Center Point Eagle team out of Alabama pulled away in the second half to beat the Nation Ford Falcons in the third-place game of the Shootout by the Sea at North Myrtle Beach High Saturday evening.
Center Point won 66-54 after starting to pull away from a slim halftime lead and creating controversy for the second straight game for the Falcons.
With Nation Ford trailing 34-33 at the half in the third place game, the score was changed to 34-31 before the start of the second half because of a discrepancy in the scorebook between the home, visiting teams and the tournament book. Other unofficial scorebooks had the score at 34-33, but the tournament book was considered the official book so Nation Ford had two points taken away before the start of the second half.
In Fridays game, Nation Ford was never credited on the scoreboard for a free-throw it hit despite video evidence which would have tied the game at 58-58 and sent it into overtime against host team North Myrtle Beach.
Instead, the Falcons lost by one at 58-57 and had to settle for playing for third place.
Falcons head coach Brian Turner said he was glad the game didnt come down to a three-point difference, but said the controversy didnt lead to the loss.
We had to keep scoring just to stay in the game, he said. We just couldnt get any stops. The key to the game was stopping them.
Center Point came out in the second half and started hitting three-pointers to pull away 48-40. Center Points Jeffrey Hodge had 26 points, including six of the teams seven three-pointers in the game. Center Point kept a 10-point lead for most of the second half and outscored Nation Ford 32-23 in the second half.
The Falcons were led by senior Carson Smith, who scored 21 points and was named to the All-Tournament team.
Smith scored 13 of his 21 points in the first half, as the teams played two 16 minute halves instead of four eight-minute quarters. Smith also hit three of the teams six three-pointers, but none in the second half.
Nation Ford was able to keep pace with Center Point in the first half hitting five three-pointers and quickly went up 14-9.
Center Point fought back and also started hitting from downtown to keep pace with the Falcons and go up 25-23 before the half.
Junior Riley Hilton added nine points and senior Justin Sergent added 12 for the Falcons in the loss.
Nation Ford wont have much time to rest over the Christmas break as the Falcons head down to Florida to play in another tournament over the upcoming weekend before coming back and starting the second half of their season in January.
Center Point 66, Nation Ford 54
Nation Ford;31;23;-;54 Center Point;34;32;-;66
Nation Ford Carson Smith 21, Justin Sergent 12, Riley Hilton 9, Nick Turner 8, Brandon Cureton 2, Jordan Causey 2. Center Point Jeffrey Hodge 26, Treveon Davis 18, Dedric Foreman 14, Darryl Purnell 6, Montego Hoskins 2. 3-pointers Nation Ford 6 (Smith 3, Turner 2, Sergent1), Center Point 7 (Hodge 6, Davis 1). Team fouls Nation Ford 19, Center Point 12.
Records: Nation Ford 5-6